Mama Winnie’s special funeral, burial will be open to the public

2018-04-05 10:52

Struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will be afforded a special funeral category 1, which is the highest any civilian can be given.

The public will be allowed to attend the funeral and burial on April 14 and, to accommodate the large numbers of attendees, there are discussions about possibly moving the memorial service from Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto to Orlando Stadium.

The inter-ministerial committee set up for the special official funeral held a press briefing this morning at Orlando Stadium.

In attendance were Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Mokonyane thanked South Africans for their support and messages following Madikizela-Mandela’s death on Monday, when she passed away peacefully surrounded by family and loved ones at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.

The third to the 14th of April had been marked as national mourning days, said Dlamini-Zuma.

The national flag has also been flown at half-mast at all flag stations countrywide and at South African diplomatic missions abroad.

Dlamini-Zuma appealed for cooperation among political parties and all groups involved in the mourning process.

“Mama will not be give a state funeral but a special funeral category 1, which is the highest any civilian can be given,” she said.

The category 1 funeral includes military ceremonial honours.

Although the family wanted the memorial to take place in the historic Regina Mundi church in Soweto, the government officials were in talks with them to have it in Orlando Stadium to accommodate the large number of people who were expected to attend.

The family has granted permission for the public to attend both the funeral, which will be at the Orlando Stadium on April 14 and the burial in a cemetery in Fourways.

Logistics would be communicated regarding transport and other preparations.

Dlamini-Zuma said she couldn’t confirm which dignitaries would be in attendance.

“The department of international relations and cooperation is receiving confirmation of those who would like to come. This will be communicated at a later stage,’’ she added.

Condolence books would be distributed throughout the country including Brandfort and Bizana, where Mama is originally from.

Condolence books would also be placed at OR Tambo International Airport, Parliament (Tuynhuys), at the Union Buildings, all provincial legislatures and premier offices, and in Brandfort, Umtata and at Madikizela-Mandela’s hometown in Bizana.

Madikizela-Mandela was a recipient of the Order of Luthuli in silver for her “excellent contribution to the fight for the liberation of the people of South Africa”.

“Mama Winnie touched the lives of many people in our country and beyond by the tenacity she displayed during the fight for freedom and the subsequent suffering she endured as a result,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

Dlamini-Zuma said she lived to see freedom for the country and the people.

“As we pay tribute and celebrate her life, let us reflect on what we do to ensure we continue her legacy of fighting for social justice.”

Zamayirha Peter
City Press
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September 15 2019